The Alberta government should not invest in a high-speed rail link between Calgary and Edmonton at this time, according to a new feasibility report released Friday.
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It says the population base does not support spending the money. The cost of the line is estimated between $6 billion to $10 billion.
Instead, the province should invest in the expansion of light rail transit and other regional transportation systems.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi agrees with the key finding.
"In the case of Calgary and Edmonton we have to finish the LRT systems within each city," he said.
Calgary MLA Moe Amery, the chair of the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future which prepared the report, said it's a "great idea, however we are not ready for it."
"The people who presented to us did not think that we have the 10 million trips or the 10 million riders that would use it on a yearly basis to make it economically viable," said Amery.
However, the report recommends preliminary work should start right now.
Amery says the government could start acquiring land for a transportation-utility corridor.
1. The Government of Alberta should not invest in a high-speed rail transit system in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor at this time because the population of the corridor is not sufficient to support the profitable operation of such a system.
2. The Government of Alberta should include in its long-term transportation infrastructure strategic plan the expansion of light-rail transit and the development of regional transportation systems.
3. As part of the long-term transportation infrastructure strategic plan, the Government of Alberta should identify a greenfield transportation/utility corridor between Calgary and Edmonton to assist in future transportation infrastructure planning with capacity for a potential high-speed rail transit system.
4. The Government of Alberta should begin the process of acquiring land for a transportation/utility corridor right-of-way between Calgary and Edmonton, as budgets warrant, following public consultation with affected landowners, including aboriginal groups.
5. The Government of Alberta should investigate the development of a regulatory model to allow for private investors who can raise both the capital for high-speed infrastructure and procurement of land to be able to go forward to build this necessary infrastructure.
The full report is posted below. On mobile? Click here.